Linux Penguin
Nintendo Switch hackers can run Linux on the console, so are pirated games next? Fail0verflow is not likely to release the exploit. Nintendo Switch is available for $299. Pixabay

Nintendo Switch hack progress continues via the hardware experts at Fail0verflow. According to the group’s recent tweets, it’s possible to run a full Linux distro on the very popular console. While details are scarce, the image below is a clear illustration of everything you need to know.

This news arrives weeks after Fail0verflow’s announcement that it had found a future-proof, modchip-free bootrom exploit for Nintendo Switch that enables installation of customized boot logos. Now that Linux is apparently part of the equation, we’re able to see just how useful Fail0verflow’s bootrom exploit can potentially be. If a full OS can be loaded using the flaw, it would certainly signal that doors are also open for homebrew launchers and backup loaders that facilitate access to pirated retail games.

Unfortunately, those waiting for a public release of this hack probably shouldn’t hold their breath. While Fail0verflow will likely release the Linux patches required for the OS to run on Switch, it probably won't provide the central flaw required for those patches to be fully executed. The group’s white-hat history with PS4 hacks is clear evidence of this. In October of last year, Fail0verflow published its 4.05 firmware hack a full year after it had been patched by Sony’s 4.06 update. The Linux patches made their debut several months prior. In other words, Fail0verflow typically doesn’t release work that enables piracy on a large number of consoles.

With that reality in mind, then, the onus is on other teams to find the flaw Fail0verflow is using. Monetized groups like Team Xecuter have pledged to release a paid version of this hack in the spring, so maybe Fail0verflow’s Linux efforts can be enjoyed then. However, with no price or release date for the Xecuter project, it’s hard to say just how many Switch owners will be up for spending extra money to get their illegal fix.

If the Switch bootrom exploit is accessible, it might prove costly for Nintendo. Because the flaw is located in the bootrom, it can only be fixed via minor changes in the console’s manufacturing process. Traditional anti-piracy measures, like firmware updates, won’t be able to solve the problem. Knowing of that approaching storm, it’s possible Nintendo has already patched the flaw on some recently produced Switch units. However, that achievement doesn’t stop the millions of current Switch owners from using this hack until the end of time.

Given the Nintendo Switch continues to be a financial juggernaut for its makers in terms of hardware and software sales, the ability to pirate games on a wide scale could also have a negative impact on Nintendo’s bottom line. That being said, despite facing an extensive piracy war with the Nintendo 3DS handheld, that system continues to offer positive financial contributions nearly seven years after its release.

The Nintendo Switch is available now for $299.

What do you think of the recent Nintendo Switch hack developments? Would you install Linux on your Switch? Tell us in the comments section!